Software Engineer / Senior Software Engineer

Updated: about 2 months ago
Deadline: 07 Apr 2023

Software Engineer / Senior Software Engineer

Location Science and Technology Facilities Council, UK Astronomy Technology Centre, Edinburgh.

Salary: Band D £31,931-£34,709 to Band E £39,748-£44,166 per annum (dependent on skills & experience) *

Contract Type: Open-Ended

Hours: Full-Time (We understand the importance of work-life balance, and are happy to discuss the possibility of flexible working with applicants)

*A Specialist Allowance of up to £4,000 per annum is also available for this role.

The UK Astronomy Technology Centre (UK ATC) designs and builds ground-breaking instrumentation and software for large astronomical observatories around the world. The UK ATC Software Engineering Group (SEG) develops a range of software in support of these activities, from software to control our bespoke astronomical instrumentation through to observatory operations tools and data reduction pipelines used by research astronomers worldwide. Our projects are often on 5–10-year lifecycles and are multidisciplinary and international in nature, requiring close collaboration with local scientists, engineers, and our international partners.  The UK ATC provides a friendly and flexible environment on a beautiful site, in the dynamic and attractive city of Edinburgh, combining a historic observatory with modern facilities.

About the Role

We have an exciting opportunity to join the Software Engineering Group at the UK ATC, where you will play a key role in developing software for the next generation of astronomical instruments and telescopes.

Your initial software development work will be with the UK ATC agile team developing software for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), a new world-class radio observatory now under construction. As part of the team, you will help create the suite of software applications used by astronomers and observatory staff to design, manage, schedule, and execute their SKA observations. Beyond SKA, you will have opportunities to work on a range of projects and to contribute more broadly to the wide range of activities at the UK ATC. You can find out more about the SKA on the web at the SKA portal ( ) and on social media (; ),  and more on the UK's contribution to SKA at . You can also find out more about our optical-infrared instruments and telescopes at , and .

As a software engineer within the Software Engineering Group, you will be supported to innovate and decide the technical direction of your projects, and the UK ATC has a culture of developing new technical solutions.

Your responsibilities will include: 

  • Taking software through the complete software lifecycle, from analysis, requirements capture and design through to implementation, test, and delivery.
  • Working with UK ATC engineers and scientists in dynamic and enthusiastic teams, bringing your specialist knowledge and experience to our software development.
  • Working closely with international colleagues on large international projects.
  • Contributing to design studies, small projects, proposals for new projects, etc., as required.

About You

The UK ATC is seeking an adaptable and proactive software engineer with good interpersonal and coding skills who can integrate and work effectively with their project teams and international colleagues. 

Person Specification


  • Good knowledge of object-oriented principles and an object-oriented language, such as Python, Java, C++ or Typescript
  • Experience using a rigorous process to develop and test your software, ideally to meet formal technical requirements
  • Ability to work proactively and collaboratively as part of a team, ideally in an agile software development context
  • Good verbal, written and presentation communication skills
  • Willingness and ability to travel when necessary for collaboration with partners
  • A good quality cover letter

Appointment will be based on skills and experience. For appointment at the higher salary band, we would expect you to have one of the following areas of expertise:

  • Research astronomy and/or the operation of working observatories
  • Developing software for use by research astronomers
  • Line management and/or mentoring of early-career software engineers
  • Leading the development of significant software applications

The UK ATC is committed to sustaining a diverse and inclusive workforce. We are invested in creating an environment that is welcoming and supportive of all, to help us achieve the highest possible standards in our work and organisation together. In this regard, we encourage applications from under-represented groups.

What could you achieve with the world-leading facilities and experts of one of Europe's largest research organisations by your side? Join us and discover what's possible.

STFC values their employees by offering a benefits package designed to provide an excellent work/life balance. This includes 30 days’ annual leave, 10.5 public and privilege holidays, flexible working hours, a workplace nursery, exceptional average salary pension scheme, social and sporting activities and societies and a subsidised restaurant.

Applicants who are unable to apply online should contact us by telephone on 07710 115815.

The closing date for applications is 2nd April 2023.

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